|President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines Meets with Wang Yi|
On October 29, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the presidential palace in southern Davao.
Rodrigo Duterte first asked Wang Yi to convey his sincere greetings to President Xi Jinping. Rodrigo Duterte said that the Philippines and China are friendly and close neighbors. The tremendous development achievements of China have brought important opportunities to the world. Therefore, the Philippines regards China as its most important cooperative partner. I myself eagerly expect President Xi Jinping's state visit to the Philippines. The Philippines-China relations will surely usher in new development prospects. As the Philippine economy is mainly faced with main constraints on the shortage of energy and infrastructure, the Philippine side is willing to carry out active cooperation with the Chinese side in this regard, and also hopes that the Chinese side could provide support and assistance for the development of Mindanao and other regions.
Wang Yi conveyed President Xi Jinping's warm greetings to President Rodrigo Duterte. Wang Yi said that the main task of this visit to the Philippines is to prepare for the scheduled high-level visit of the two sides. In the past two years, the China-Philippines relations have enjoyed comprehensive improvement and development under the personal guidance of the two heads of state. China has become the largest trading partner of the Philippines. The cooperation between China and the Philippines has played a positive role in the economic development and people's livelihood of the Philippines. China and the Philippines have been friendly neighbors since ancient times and are dear to each other like members of one family. The facts will prove that China is surely the most lasting, reliable and trustworthy cooperative partner of the Philippines during the process of the national revitalization and development of the Philippines.
Wang Yi expressed that the Philippines has been an important stop of the Maritime Silk Road in history. In the process of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Philippines will not and should not be absent. The Chinese side is willing to take the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative as an opportunity to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and achieve common development and progress with the Philippine side in accordance with its development needs. The Chinese side welcomes and invites President Rodrigo Duterte to come to China for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) to be held next year.
Rodrigo Duterte noted that the Philippines fully supports the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and stands ready to carry out cooperation with the Chinese side in relevant fields. I am also willing to actively consider attending the second BRF again in China in 2019. Rodrigo Duterte said that the current Philippines-China relations have enjoyed sound development. There is only one issue, namely, the South China Sea dispute. However, as for this issue, the Philippine side firmly believes that peace is the only correct choice. The Philippine side stands ready to work with the Chinese side to continue to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Wang Yi expressed that the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea should not be an obstacle to the development of bilateral relations. In the past two years, the two sides have met each other halfway, found a correct way to properly manage differences, and accumulated useful experience. The Chinese side is willing to speed up the consultation process of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, and achieve lasting peace and stability in the South China Sea with all countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) including the Philippine side. It is hoped that the Philippines, as the country coordinator for the China-ASEAN relations, will play an active role in this regard. Wang Yi said that the current international situation is full of uncertainties. The biggest challenge is that multilateralism and international rules have been impacted. Both as developing countries, China and the Philippines should work together with other countries in the world to strengthen unity and cooperation, and join hands to safeguard the process of multilateralism and international rules and order as well as the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and emerging economies.
Rodrigo Duterte noted that the Philippines will earnestly fulfill its duties as the country coordinator for the ASEAN-China relations and make positive contributions to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and promoting cooperation between China and the ASEAN. The Philippines is also ready to, together with the Chinese side, strengthen communication and cooperation in international affairs, and safeguard the international multilateral system and rules as well as the common interests of developing countries.